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Witness recalls hearing the chaos, gunshots in incident that killed Arvada police officer

A woman shared what she heard during shooting that killed an Arvada PD officer
Posted at 3:44 PM, Sep 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 07:38:34-04

ARVADA, Colo. — The community is mourning the loss of an Arvada police officer who was killed in the line of duty early Sunday morning.

Crime scene tape and evidence markers could still be seen all around W. 51st Avenue and Marshall Street in Arvada, hours after the shooting happened.

Police say two Arvada Police officers were responding to a large family disturbance at around 1 a.m. when they arrived to a chaotic scene.

When the officers tried to break it up, police say a man shot and killed one of the officers, who has been identified as 27-year-old Dillon Michael Vakoff, who had been with the Arvada Police Department since 2019.

Arvada police officer killed in the line of duty early Sunday; police ID fallen officer

Neighbors in the area were shaken up following the shooting. One woman, who did not want to be identified, recalled the moments she heard the chaos break out. She said neighbors scrambled to get to safety when they heard the shots.

"You could hear a woman screaming and you couldn’t tell where the gunshots were coming from, over and over and over," she said. "Everyone ran inside. You couldn’t tell north, east, south or west where those shots were coming from."

The woman told us her mother has lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years.

"I'm sure that officer was a great officer. It's heartbreaking to see it 20 feet from my mother. My voice is quivering because of that," she added.

During a press conference Sunday Morning, Arvada P.D. Chief Link Strate said the suspect, who was also shot, is expected to survive. He is in custody and officials said there is no threat to the public. A woman was also injured and is also expected to survive.

MORE | What we know about fallen Arvada officer Dillon Vakoff

A procession transported Vakoff from Lutheran Hospital to the Jefferson County Coroner's office Sunday morning.

"Dillion is an example of everything that is good about a police officer. He was training towards becoming a SWAT officer," Strate said.

The woman said crime in that area has been getting progressively worse lately, but this was something she never thought would happen so close to her mother's home.

"We get sick of seeing it through here, but we never expected anyone to kill an officer," she said.

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